Teardrop vs parallel edge wing for flatwater

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9 years 4 months ago #16499 by Beluge
Dear all,

Hello - I'm new to this board. I paddle on flatwater exclusively but have not been able to find an online community of flatwater kayakers.

I've been using a Bracsa IV teardrop paddle for the past several years and am currently looking to buy a new paddle. At first I just wanted to increase my blade size (to a Bracsa I) but after reading the catalogue I'm not so sure. Brand is irrelevant for me because Bracsa is the only paddle I can find easily without having to wait months for delivery.

My main question is: what are the differences between a parallel edge blade and a teardrop? I have only had experience with the traditional teardrop (Bracsa IV) and the "hybrid" (Bracsa IX, which was not aggressive enough with acceleration for my taste). I am open to buying a parallel edge (Bracsa III) or extreme teardrop (Bracsa VI).

Again, disregarding different brands, I would like to know the profiles of the different paddle shapes, specifically for distances of 1000m and below.

Cheers!

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9 years 4 months ago #16506 by Stew
Different strokes for different folks. Everyone is different in terms of strength, technique, boat type etc etc. All gets down to what you like the feel of, and what works for you. Personally, I use parallel blades, and absolutely love them. I find the blade more balanced in the water, and in choppy water, where technique can be compromised, they have a more solid feel for me. I've found with tear drops that if you miss the catch, the rest of the stroke just spins.

However, the extreme tear drop like the Jantex Gamma which came from WWR has a very solid following in ocean racing now, and several brands make copies of these shapes which are available all over the world.

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9 years 4 months ago #16522 by kayakchampeen
In a nutshell:

Brasca 1,2,and, 4 are basically the same blade (4 is smaller, 2 has more cant)
Brasca 3 is a copy of the original Lettmann Nordic. which is itself similar to (but not exactly like)the Rasmussen and Gut
Brasca 5 is a very nice blade, little discussed, it is a copy of a german sprint blade from a few years back originally made by F.E.S.. Clint Robinson uses this blade for sprint. Ronald Rauhe still does also in the 200m. It's what I would call a "BrascaMussen" like equal parts teardop and rasmussen. It is by far the most stable/powerful blade I've used. I really like it, but it may be too much for the ski/distance
Brasca 6 and 7 are different sizes of a blade with even more teardop shape and twist than B4, instant power right at the catch, The Gamma shape is closest to this brasca but still quite different.
Brasca 8 is a copy of a lettmann warp. like a b4 that is way elongated and skinny, still considered teardrop, it has unique characteristics because the blade is so long. was popular in Sprint but has fallen out of fashion to some extent.,
Never tried the Brasca 9 or 10, can't speak to this.
Epic is basically a SET endorphin (like a slightly detuned B4, Less lip on foil) which makes it smoother in rough water and more forgiving of as poor catch.
Jantex alpha is a Gut(Rasmussen style) blade
Beta is a B1/B4 clone depending on size.
Gamma is fairly unique, although many others make this shape now,
Even many sprint paddlers like Adam Van Kouverden switched to this shape from an FES or Gut style blade (hard to tell which, both of his are Patasi Turbo versions of the styles respectively)
There are few outliers in the pantheon of wing design. The original Swedish wing noone uses anymore, a few early parallel blades with practically no cant, Plastex Bionic, and Lendal Kinetic wing, none of which are really used to any extent in racing.
So that really makes only about 5 or 6 semi-original designs:
B1/B4
Rasmussen (which includes Gut and original Van Dusen Zero)
Lettmann Nordic
Lettmann Warp
B6/7
FES
Vandusen 8/Jantex Gamma etc..

It really comes down to preference. Teardop blades tend to provide front-loaded power, at the expense of stability at the end of their stroke. Ultimately it's probably easier to maintain a high cadence with these unless it's the largest size. Stew is correct that the power is only as good as the catch is precise.

Parallel blades provide a more linear application of power and behave well throughout the stroke. They are easier to use when dog tired and are easier on the body. I still think the original Lettmann Nordic (fenn 1, B3) is still one of the best offerings
out there, sooo smoooth and predictable. Catch requires a bit more downward component to seat blade properly than teardop. These blades really encourage and develop textbook wing technique (think barton mold)

Gamma as I have mentioned in other threads, feels less "wingish" and more just like a big Euro blade. Uniquely, the available power really comes on as the boat speed and cadence increase, It's been described as having multiple gears. Catch and exit are real smooth and the power is delivered in a distinct spike right in mid stroke. Which means that although it is really ergonomic, it does not provide as much structure at the catch as a brasca or as much at the back of the stroke as a parallel blade.

Ultimately if you can pull a B6, I think it has the greatest potential for real boat speed, but it's not very good for confused water and demands vigilant attention and vertical stroke.

If winning a race were less of a concern, the nordic and FES are the most fun to paddle with, and are the most confidence-inspiring designs. Still plenty powerful but just harder to spool up the cadence really high with. (but a pleasure to use compared to a spastic brasca stroke)

Gamma is smooth, fast, and good in the rough, but places more demands on knowing exactly how to time the brief spike in power to the leg drive and rotation, and a heightened feel for the water and comfort in the boat because it does not impart a great deal of stability to the boat throughout the stroke. It is also more taxing aerobically and less of an anaerobic grind than either parallel or teardrop. Max Hoff still owns the fastest 1000m K1 time ever recorded with a Gamma if that pertains to your question at all.
It goes without saying that many iterations of these basic designs are available from a variety of manufacturers. It still comes down to preference. The only wing I've ever really despised was a Lettmann Warp (owing as much to shaft as blade design.)
One more thing, blades with alot of cant like a B2/B6 need a stiffer shaft and slightly shorter shaft length, so that the blade does not deflect even futher and compromise the geometry whereas the rasmussen and even Gamma with alot less cant seem to do well with a flexier shaft that allows the catch to essentially induce cant into the system, and also a slightly longer shaft than a Brasca.

Probably way more info than anyone really needed to hear but what the hell, hope some of this adds a bit of clarification....cheers
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9 years 4 months ago #16523 by Kayaker Greg

kayakchampeen wrote: In a nutshell:
Probably way more info than anyone really needed to hear but what the hell, hope some of this adds a bit of clarification....cheers


No way, love this post, thank you!

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9 years 4 months ago #16524 by Kayaker Greg
Kayakchampeen, would you agree with what I feel between the Epic and Gamma paddles? To me it feels like the Epic is very solid on catch as in "spearing the fish" at lower speeds where the Gamma is not quite as clean. However, as the speed increases the Gamma has the better catch due to the paddle not quite spearing the fish but due to the speed of the craft in the water starting to move back before fully immersed, with the catch being more solid with the Gamma under these circumstances, where as the Epic almost either creates a little "braking effect" if trying to spear the fish at higher speeds or the catch not being as solid as the Gamma.

Hope you can understand what I'm trying to get at here. Just what I feel.

I do like the feel of the Gamma, however trying to come to terms with how the power is created mid stroke, as my belief has been that the most powerful part of the stroke is towards the catch. I guess mid stroke can be different for different paddlers, depending on technique, some tend to pull the blade close to the boat before tracking outwards, others tend to track outwards from the get go.

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9 years 4 months ago #16526 by Beluge
Awesome, thanks for the replies. Especially to kayakchampeen for the longest piece of literature I've seen regarding this topic.

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9 years 4 months ago #16528 by kayakchampeen
I would wholeheartedly agree with a few of your observations greg.;

Namely the Gamma feels almost awkward at low boat speed and/or cadence. It craves acceleration. The faster you can spool it up RPM-wise the faster the hull will run as long as the structure of your stroke is maintained. I have a theory on why many other blade shapes almost seem as they are acting as drag devices at high cadence/VMG. A blade that requires a longer time interval (i.e. epic v gamma) or more downward stroke mechanics to seat in the water feels VERY nice at moderately fast speeds with ample power and predictabililty; but when the boat is really hauling ass that difference in quickness vs a gamma or teardrop is noticeable. The gamma just somehow gets into the next stroke quicker and more effortlessly than the longer/more parallel blades. (B6 is in this instance could be substituted for Gamma) But you have to be prepared to go like a honeybee to take advantage of it fully. Maybe its well mannered enough to loaf along on a downwinder and have a reserve gear to accelerate hard to link up some runs.
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9 years 4 months ago #16529 by Marieski

kayakchampeen wrote: In a nutshell:

Brasca 1,2,and, 4 are basically the same blade (4 is smaller, 2 has more cant)
Brasca 3 is a copy of the original Lettmann Nordic. which is itself similar to (but not exactly like)the Rasmussen and Gut
Brasca 5 is a very nice blade, little discussed, it is a copy of a german sprint blade from a few years back originally made by F.E.S.. Clint Robinson uses this blade for sprint. Ronald Rauhe still does also in the 200m. It's what I would call a "BrascaMussen" like equal parts teardop and rasmussen. It is by far the most stable/powerful blade I've used. I really like it, but it may be too much for the ski/distance
Brasca 6 and 7 are different sizes of a blade with even more teardop shape and twist than B4, instant power right at the catch, The Gamma shape is closest to this brasca but still quite different.
Brasca 8 is a copy of a lettmann warp. like a b4 that is way elongated and skinny, still considered teardrop, it has unique characteristics because the blade is so long. was popular in Sprint but has fallen out of fashion to some extent.,
Never tried the Brasca 9 or 10, can't speak to this.
Epic is basically a SET endorphin (like a slightly detuned B4, Less lip on foil) which makes it smoother in rough water and more forgiving of as poor catch.
Jantex alpha is a Gut(Rasmussen style) blade
Beta is a B1/B4 clone depending on size.
Gamma is fairly unique, although many others make this shape now,
Even many sprint paddlers like Adam Van Kouverden switched to this shape from an FES or Gut style blade (hard to tell which, both of his are Patasi Turbo versions of the styles respectively)
There are few outliers in the pantheon of wing design. The original Swedish wing noone uses anymore, a few early parallel blades with practically no cant, Plastex Bionic, and Lendal Kinetic wing, none of which are really used to any extent in racing.
So that really makes only about 5 or 6 semi-original designs:
B1/B4
Rasmussen (which includes Gut and original Van Dusen Zero)
Lettmann Nordic
Lettmann Warp
B6/7
FES
Vandusen 8/Jantex Gamma etc..

It really comes down to preference. Teardop blades tend to provide front-loaded power, at the expense of stability at the end of their stroke. Ultimately it's probably easier to maintain a high cadence with these unless it's the largest size. Stew is correct that the power is only as good as the catch is precise.

Parallel blades provide a more linear application of power and behave well throughout the stroke. They are easier to use when dog tired and are easier on the body. I still think the original Lettmann Nordic (fenn 1, B3) is still one of the best offerings
out there, sooo smoooth and predictable. Catch requires a bit more downward component to seat blade properly than teardop. These blades really encourage and develop textbook wing technique (think barton mold)

Gamma as I have mentioned in other threads, feels less "wingish" and more just like a big Euro blade. Uniquely, the available power really comes on as the boat speed and cadence increase, It's been described as having multiple gears. Catch and exit are real smooth and the power is delivered in a distinct spike right in mid stroke. Which means that although it is really ergonomic, it does not provide as much structure at the catch as a brasca or as much at the back of the stroke as a parallel blade.

Ultimately if you can pull a B6, I think it has the greatest potential for real boat speed, but it's not very good for confused water and demands vigilant attention and vertical stroke.

If winning a race were less of a concern, the nordic and FES are the most fun to paddle with, and are the most confidence-inspiring designs. Still plenty powerful but just harder to spool up the cadence really high with. (but a pleasure to use compared to a spastic brasca stroke)

Gamma is smooth, fast, and good in the rough, but places more demands on knowing exactly how to time the brief spike in power to the leg drive and rotation, and a heightened feel for the water and comfort in the boat because it does not impart a great deal of stability to the boat throughout the stroke. It is also more taxing aerobically and less of an anaerobic grind than either parallel or teardrop. Max Hoff still owns the fastest 1000m K1 time ever recorded with a Gamma if that pertains to your question at all.
It goes without saying that many iterations of these basic designs are available from a variety of manufacturers. It still comes down to preference. The only wing I've ever really despised was a Lettmann Warp (owing as much to shaft as blade design.)
One more thing, blades with alot of cant like a B2/B6 need a stiffer shaft and slightly shorter shaft length, so that the blade does not deflect even futher and compromise the geometry whereas the rasmussen and even Gamma with alot less cant seem to do well with a flexier shaft that allows the catch to essentially induce cant into the system, and also a slightly longer shaft than a Brasca.

Probably way more info than anyone really needed to hear but what the hell, hope some of this adds a bit of clarification....cheers


Cripes! That was like reading a Russian novel!

Past skis: Spirit PRS, EpicV10Sport Performance, Epic V10 Elite, Stellar SES Advantage. Current skis: Fenn Elite Spark, Fenn Swordfish vacuum. Custom Horizon, Epic V7

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9 years 4 months ago - 9 years 4 months ago #16531 by 7ender
Hate to thread jack, but you guys clearly know alot about paddles!

I have this Lendal Carbon wing, but can't find ANY information about it. Is it a good paddle? Iv'e never used anything else, so I have nothing to compare to. What do you guys think?
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Last edit: 9 years 4 months ago by 7ender.

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9 years 4 months ago #16532 by fredrik
So, I take from the nice input above that, while upgrading to new tippy boats, a parallel shape paddle would help the process to be comfortable in the new boat.

Personally, I have landed on a parallel shape (Peter Patasi Turbo ), due to the same reasons as Stew. It is a no brainer, regardless of chop and lactic acid

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9 years 4 months ago #16535 by fredrik

Kayaker Greg wrote: the Gamma under these circumstances, where as the Epic almost either creates a little "braking effect" if trying to spear the fish at higher speeds or the catch not being as solid as the Gamma.



I think I have noticed this "braking effect", where it is harder to make the blade catch-up with the passing water, but for me this is typically in currents and surfing downwind - in the 14-15-16+ kph range. Are we talking about the same?

Anyhow, most of my paddling is in more the 11-13 kph range so that is maybe why I have landed on the parallel style (even if I have a Gamma collecting dust)

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9 years 4 months ago #16538 by Wally
I hate to intervene but the Epic is NOT a copy of the SET, Greg Barton has been designing wing blades for many years and the current Epic is his design from over 10 years ago. He has also designed and manufactured other shaped before this one.

What is correct there are very few original designs, most are rip-offs. Which is very poor indication of the industry we are in.

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9 years 4 months ago #16542 by kayakchampeen
what you have there is the Lendal version of the original Swedish wing. This was essentially the first wing paddle in history (pre-Rasmussen). They were used in sprint from about 85?-88 and replaced the Euro blades people had been using for decades. Later the Norwegian(rasmussen) wing and Russianan/lithuanian blade (proto brasca) finally came into being and ushered out the Swedish wing. My first wing paddle was exactly like yours. It's crazy powerful and you can feel the lift it is generating in spades like an airplane wing, but ultimately the Rasmussen was just more user friendly and required a less arbitrary and unnatural style of stroke to work well. I would keep your Lendal as a training tool and piece of paddling history. It may even be ok on flatwater, but I would not expect it to behave well in the ocean at all. This design was VERY prone to behaving strangely at the catch and exit if the technique was not exact, although it felt awesome in mid-stroke.

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9 years 4 months ago - 9 years 4 months ago #16543 by Kayaker Greg

fredrik wrote:
I think I have noticed this "braking effect", where it is harder to make the blade catch-up with the passing water, but for me this is typically in currents and surfing downwind - in the 14-15-16+ kph range. Are we talking about the same?


Certainly more noticeable at those kind of speeds yes.
As I also surf my kayaks these speeds are easy to surpass when sprinting and catching waves.
Last edit: 9 years 4 months ago by Kayaker Greg.

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9 years 4 months ago #16544 by kayakchampeen
I never made the case that Epic had literally copped another blade wholesale. Only that, for the sake of my discussion, I was trying to narrow down the 5 or 6 basic templates of wings available. I also am aware that Greg's blade changed from his older excaliber design (which was really SET-like, see for yourself) to the newer mid-wing style at some point. But the fact remains that if you took a B4, shaved the lip down near the throat and faired it more smoothly into the throat, and made a minor tweak to how the trailing edge is trimmed from the mold (narrower towards tip) you would have a paddle that is really close to an Epic Mid. Hence my decision to not really differentiate it from the B4 for the purposes of my discussion. I'm not suggesting Greg brazenly copied another design outright, but that he used an existing style of blade as a basis for his improvements. For the discussion above it was not necessary to differentiate the Epic from the B4 as far as I was concerned.
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9 years 4 months ago - 9 years 4 months ago #16545 by fredrik

Kayaker Greg wrote:

fredrik wrote:
I think I have noticed this "braking effect", where it is harder to make the blade catch-up with the passing water, but for me this is typically in currents and surfing downwind - in the 14-15-16+ kph range. Are we talking about the same?


Certainly more noticeable at those kind of speeds yes.
As I also surf my kayaks these speeds are easy to surpass when sprinting and catching waves.


I love the higher speeds myself, but unfortunately the relative time spent at those speeds are limited, compared to grind/chop time. At least until I get my Glide delivered, up and going . It'll be interesting to see if my preference changes with a faster boat. Come to think of it: I liked the Gamma better while paddling the SL.
Last edit: 9 years 4 months ago by fredrik.

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9 years 4 months ago #16547 by ErikE

7ender wrote: Hate to thread jack, but you guys clearly know alot about paddles!

I have this Lendal Carbon wing, but can't find ANY information about it. Is it a good paddle? Iv'e never used anything else, so I have nothing to compare to. What do you guys think?


In my eyes it looks very similar to the original swedish wings, including the decals, so I suppose it's a (licensed) copy of those.

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9 years 4 months ago #16548 by kayakchampeen
one more thought on the swedish wing above:
First everyone should try one if they get the opportunity if only to appreciate how foreign the 1st Gen wings felt when Barton, et al first switched to the Wing, and how much adjustment was necessary.

And the swedish is without a doubt the most wing-like of all wings since, to a fault. The only design parameters seemed to be an aerodynamic analysis of the wing/aerofoil that would produce the most lift without much consideration given to stroke mechanics and ergonomics. I think it's fair to say that The swedish is above all others the true "wing paddle" and that subsequent blade shapes were actually detuned to incorporate less lift but also to be much more ergonomic at the catch and exit. I think a blade like the gamma could be considered more of a cambered scoop than a true wing.

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9 years 4 months ago #16549 by Newbflat
Thanks for lengthy post on wings. It has me wondering about my wing.
Seeing as the only paddle wing I have used is my ONNO small/mid ... Where does it fit into the spectrum of paddles mentioned?

Bill

FENN Bluefin S
FENN Swordfish S carbon hybrid
Epic V8 double gen 2
Lot and lots of DK rudders.


Had:
Stellar SEL excel (gen 2)
Stellar SR excel (gen2)
Stellar S18s g1 (excel)
Epic V10 Double (performance)
Stellar SR (gen 1)
V10 sport (gen 2)
V10 (Gen 2)
Beater SEL (gen 1)

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9 years 4 months ago #16550 by kayakchampeen
I've already been reamed elsewhere on this forum for speculating about the origins of the onno blade shape, as well as commentary about epic paddles that ought to be self- evident to an observant person. I'm not gonna take the bait here as Epic and Onno folks refuse to believe that Greg and Patrick didn't re-invent the wheel and make an entirely new, proprietary design from scratch, although it's true that Epic did CNC machine molds using CAD info that presumably was derived from scans of existing designs, or at least used those as a reference point for their own modification. Contrast that with the vandusen 8 (gamma) or the lettmann warp, both of which were obviously VERY different from all other offerings at the time of their
inception. Only in the most generic sense of "wing paddle" did either of these designs have any precedent at all.

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